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Last Friday morning at 3:30 a.m., Efraim Gadassi was killed in a motor vehicle accident while responding to an emergency call. Efi (Efraim), had gotten out of bed to respond to an emergency and help a complete stranger.
Efi was a young father of three and a brother of some 3,500 fellow responders. An honor guard was arranged for the funeral of some 120 ambucycles from Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Jews and Arabs alike came together to show their support for their fallen brother. An additional hundred or so responders, as well as United Hatzalah staff, filled out the honor guard to pay their last respects to a fallen hero who just the week before had saved the lives of two young children who required immediate medical help. Efi had responded to hundreds of calls each year and helped thousands of people, not just as an EMT but also as a volunteer in the Hospital Emergency Room program as well as with the Ten Kavod project. As part of the project, Efi was matched up with an elderly citizen and provided them with weekly medical checkups and companionship. In every sense of the word, this man was a hero.
The brotherhood of Hatzalah members from around the world rallied around the Gadassi and United Hatzalah families and joined in mourning and tribute. Online donation campaigns were established with the goal of easing the financial burden of the Gadassi children and family. (To donate click here:) Letters were sent, online social media campaigns were held and support came pouring in from all over the world.
A few days after the funeral, Efraim’s three children came to visit United Hatzalah headquarters with their mother. There they met a very special member of United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit, Lucy, who has been trained as a therapy dog. Lucy’s handler Batsheva Jaffe, a trained Psychotrauma Unit volunteer was on hand to provide emotional support The unit has been accompanying the family and providing support since the incident. One of the keystones of the unit’s philosophy is resilience through unity. United Hatzalah together with Hatzolah members worldwide have taken numerous steps to be that family for the Gadassis. Numerous Hatzalah organizations and individuals have dedicated their ongoing lifesaving efforts in memory of Effi. Whether the support has been social, financial or spiritual it has been encouraging and beneficial.
The President and Founder of United Hatzalah, Eli Beer, said that “the organization is putting its full effort into supporting the Gadassi family, whether it is in providing the family help and relief that they need following this trauma, or helping them financially by establishing and supporting fundraising initiatives on their behalf. All of the money from the donation fund will go directly to the family so that these children can have a strong future.”
“We need to take care of the family of a volunteer who lost his life while trying to help others. We cannot allow them to be neglected or to fall on hard times. We need to send a clear and very important message to all United Hatzalah volunteers in Israel that we will be there to support you and your families who give up so much to help others. Each and every volunteer needs to know that we stand behind them when they go out to do their important life-saving work. Supporters around the world stand behind them. No one should be afraid to continue their work to go out on calls to save others,” Beer concluded.
To help support the Gadassi children: click here
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